Stock photo

Thai Church Provides Community for the Outcast

By Andrew Shaughnessy, Oct 20, 2016

When we first met Ying*, she was still married. Her husband was a drunk,” began MTW missionary Trey Adams. “She was part of a local slum that we in New City Fellowship Church in Bangkok, Thailand, ministered to.”

Ying’s home life was a story of brokenness all too common in the slums: Her husband was adulterous, physically abusive to Ying and their two daughters, and an obsessive gambler, driving the family deeper and deeper into debt. One day, mired in his self-made pit of debt and booze and shattered relationships, Ying’s husband hung himself. The youngest daughter found his body swinging from the ceiling in their house.

Struck with a tragic loss and saddled with her dead husband’s gambling debt, Ying needed a community that would gather around her and help her through her time of struggle. Instead, her friends and neighbors in the slum began to abandon her.

Cast out for bad karma
“Thai culture is very community oriented,” Trey explained. “Imagine it like this vast network of circles. You have a circle in society that you are a part of, and it usually consists of family, very close friends, and your immediate community. … But, in a karma-driven Buddhist culture, when you’ve had that much bad karma—that much bad luck, you might say—people in your circle start to push you out because obviously you deserve what has happened.”

As Ying’s friends and neighbors fell away, New City Fellowship, an MTW church plant, stepped in to face bad karma with grace and love, the true marks of a Christian community in action.

“They weren’t believers at the time, but they were connected to us,” said Trey. “So we found ways to get Ying some work. We found ways to take care of her daughters. As a church we stood up for her kids in their schools, and we were there at the funeral. We were just part of their family.”

Taken in by grace
The church quickly became Ying’s new circle. “The cool thing is that it shows the church really is this circle that says, ‘Hey, are you an outcast? Are you weary? Are you heavy laden? Come. Come to this circle.’”

Ying embraced her new friends, and then Christ Himself. Now Ying has a vision to be salt and light in her community.

“It’s one of those stories,” Trey added, “where you see the Spirit moving, working through years and years, through different missionaries, through different Thai believers, through really awful circumstances—really bad karma if you will—and using that to draw someone into a new circle that says: ‘If you’re a sinner you can come here because we have One who has dealt with that sin.’”

*Name has been changed for security reasons.



Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

Please login to continue
Forgot your password?
Recover it here.
Don't have an account?
Create an Account
Sign Up for Free
Choose Password
Confirm Password


On Mission Leadership Summit | October 31–Nov 1
Youth Ministry Leaders
Member Care Coordinator: Americas

“To Be Thai is to Be Buddhist”

To become a Christian in Thailand requires a fundamental shift in identity. But it is a shift many are making.


Why Missions Is a Big Deal

Did Abraham orchestrate the events that led to the Messiah's entrance into history? Not a chance. God called Abraham to do one thing: Move.


Rhianna: One Day in the Life of an MTW Missionary - A Video

Join Rhianna Mills on her morning jog to experience the sights and people of Thailand.


As the Thai people grieve the loss of their king, pray that many would seek out the true King. Pray for MTW churches as they reach out in love to the Thai people.

Pray for those in Thailand who are resistant to the gospel because "to be Thai is to be Buddhist." Pray they'll see that they can embrace the gospel and still retain their culture.

Pray for a widower and pastor in Thailand trying to raise his young daughter, manage his air conditioning business, and pastor a church. Pray also for other national pastors who often struggle financially.

Pray for a new parish-style church in Bangkok, Thailand, where the missionaries and church members are able to live in close proximity to one another and more easily minister to the community around them. 

Pray that God would draw college students to serve on internships this summer.

Pray for young believers growing in their faith in Bangkok, Thailand, and that many would be drawn into the church.

Pray for Tim Mills (Thailand), Abi Lowther & Roger Lowther (Japan), Joe Congdon (Japan), and Shannon Hinkle (Australia) as they all use their artistic gifts to support the Church in gospel outreach, mercy ministry, and community building.

Praise God for His supernatural work in transforming lives in Southern Thailand. Pray for continued discipleship of new believers there.

Pray today for our newly opened ministry site in Southern Thailand. Pray for the team there as they build relationships and work toward church planting. 

Pray for women forced by poverty into sex work. Pray for MTW ministries around the globe seeking to rescue and minister to these women.


Good news in your inbox, once per week.